Having an aggressive meningioma can disrupt your entire life. It can push on parts of your brain. You may experience headaches, loss of bladder control, weakness, and trouble speaking. At UVA Health, you'll find experts who can help you get your life back.
Meningioma Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA Health
At UVA Health, you'll find world leaders in treating meningiomas and other conditions that impact the brain.
To diagnosis a meningioma, we usually need to take images of your head and brain activity. These scans include:
- MRI scan
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
We'll tailor your treatment based on your overall health and also:
- Whether the tumor is malignant or benign
- The size and position of the tumor
At UVA Health, we have experts in every type of treatment.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if the tumor’s location in the brain is accessible to surgery. Most surgeries can be performed without causing neurologic damage. Learn more about our expertise in skull base surgery.
In some instances, prior to surgery, a catheter may be inserted into blood vessels supplying the meningioma. This disrupts the flow of blood to the tumor, causing it to shrink and making it easier to remove surgically.
Radiation therapy is used either on its own or after surgery has been performed. Radiation therapy is an effective way of treating the tumor and stopping its growth, especially if the tumor is not located in an area of the brain where surgery can be safely done.
Chemotherapy is used only to treat malignant meningiomas. Different medications are available and are generally used along with surgery and radiation therapy.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
Gamma Knife delivers radiation more accurately and precisely than conventional radiation therapy. It's often recommended for tumors that are in difficult-to-reach places in the brain.
What Is a Meningioma?
The meninges are a protective lining around the brain and spinal cord. A meningioma is a tumor of these linings. Most meningiomas do not cause symptoms.
But, if the meningioma grows, it can push on important parts of the brain. These tumors may be grade I, II or III.
Grade III is the most aggressive type. Malignant meningiomas, also called anaplastic, are less common. These tumors are faster growing. They often cause problems and some can cause some swelling in the brain.
Who's at Risk?
Meningiomas are twice as twice as common in women than men. Other things that put you at higher risk:
- Age: 40-70
- History of breast cancer or sarcoma, as part of the Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)
- Radiation exposure, especially to the head
Symptoms are usually related to the area of the brain that is affected or caused by skull pressure. Symptoms include:
- Visual problems
- Changes in behavior
- Loss of sensation or weakness in the arms and legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Slurred speech
- Language deficits
- Difficulty with learned movements
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty writing
- Intellectual difficulty